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Posts Tagged ‘Paul Smith’

Bristol Taken-over

Posted by Tobin Webb on February 1, 2010

Woah…serious blog neglect over the last few months – it’s been a crazy time, so much going on – lots of blogs coming your way today to get us up to date starting with this.

The Bristol town takeover has come and gone and that’s a relief I can tell you. The day itself went reasonably well, but the gods were not on our side as we had to contest with a serious downpour of rain during the outside activities. That aside, a decent amount of dedicated protesters turned up to the council house and stuck through the cold and wet to make their point known – after all the rain won’t stop the government putting up fees will it….?

In the evening came the debate, and this was really very interesting indeed. With an exciting panel of both leading academics and prospective parliamentary candidates (PPCs), we had a really varied debate following a very challenging presentation from Wes Streeting which highlighted the divide in access to education across economic demographics as demonstrated here in Bristol, which I have blogged about before.

The academics gave very well rounded and interesting speeches on their views of the future of higher education, but the real interest for me, and indeed the power of this campaign, came in listening to the PPCs. Unfortunately Adeela Shafi, the conservative PPC for Bristol East did not turn up, but Paul Harrod the LibDem PPC for Bristol North West gave robust defence for a progressive future for higher education funding, but was unconvincing when challenged on how the lib dem policy for free education actually works and whether his party leadership will be putting it in the 2010 manifesto.

Aaron Porter, Wes Streeting & Paul Smith

But pretty much everyone agreed that the star speech of the night came from Paul Smith, Labour PPC for Bristol West. Now – “you would say that” I’m sure you’re thinking, and yeah I am a political supporter of Paul’s – but it is true to say that he got the warmest reception of applause and I talked to many students from across the political spectrum that agreed he hit the nail on the head. I have to salute PPC’s like Paul who stand up and say that their party got it wrong, that he is worried that the leadership is heading in the wrong direction on HE policy and will do everything in his power to campaign for a fairer solution – that takes guts, and it’s politicians with that kind of integrity that we need in the House of Commons to restore public faith in the system.

As the town take-over truck rolled out of town, it was to gather momentum, a lot of publicity and soon…a lot more PPCs like Paul…

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